Friday, April 8, 2016

Ancient Architecture Wood Building Blocks (55 pc) Review

We have 2 young children, ages 2 and 5 and neither have yet to use tablets or electronic / sound based games. We like to have them use their imagination and make their own noises for cars, trucks, dolls, toys, etc. I realize a lot of parents purchase these types of toys and activities for their children, it is just not something we have chosen to do. I had once purchased a Baby Alive doll for my daughter when she was 3 (it was one of the hard to find discontinued ones that were really realistic and nicer than the newer models) I watched her play with it for 2 days and then realized it was not something we wanted her to have. From age 0, her and I would play together using our imagination and I would make her dollies talk or cry and we would change dolly diapers together and feed her dolly using plastic toy foods. With the electronic dolly, it talked on its own, and there was not much room for imagination through the play. The doll made the voices and not mommy or my daughter. Luckily my daughter did not bond with the doll and we were able to sell it for about the amount we paid.

My daughter is 5 now and loves playing with her dolls and toys creatively. She makes the noises for her rubber dinosaur, and her brother who is 2, plays along with her. They make car and truck sounds and it is wonderful to hear what they come up with. We love having them play with puzzles, blocks, cooking sets, dolls, and more traditional type toys that do not need batteries, but are run on children's brains and bodies.

I was given the opportunity to review a wooden block set (complimentary) from Ancient Architecture, sold by MMP Living on Amazon.  I was excited to try these as they were not painted (no paint to chip off and look shabby, or worry about my youngest ingesting paint).  The wood is an all natural color, and beautiful.  These are not just simple block shapes, they have also included some really nice architectural elements that can be used for some beautiful structures.  This 55 piece set of blocks come in many different shapes including arches, triangles, rectangles and columns.  The wood pieces are durable and smooth and won't crack or splinter, making them safe for little builders.  These look nicer than some of the other brands I have seen.  There are 16 sheets of glossy paper with 4 building designs on each sheet that you can use as a guide or get ideas.  I would have preferred the paper to have been thicker in a card stock thickness or to have the pages in a booklet for added durability.  The package arrives all bundled together in a small box and shrink wrapped in plastic.   The box is nearly impossible to get all the blocks back into, and I would have liked to have a cotton drawstring bag for storing.

My 5 year old loves these blocks and plays with them nearly every day.  Her Barbie dolls and small bears have used these structures as homes, and her brother adds his small cars to the mix.  Please note that this set is recommended for ages 3 and up, and a few of the blocks are tiny (particularly the triangle shapes).  I always supervise closely when my 2 year old plays along, to prevent him from putting the tiny pieces in his mouth.  It is a good idea to perhaps remove the smallest pieces when very young children are playing.

Blocks are so educational.  When my daughter is older, these can be used for math games and learning fractions.  It is fascinating to see what she creates with these.  She has made castles, towers, houses, bridges, robots and rocketships!

I highly recommend this block set.  It is well made, beautiful, and is such as fantastic learning toy.  It is perfect for boys and girls.  The only improvements or suggestions I would make are for the blocks to have a bag for storage, and for the design cards to be thicker material.

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DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation for a product review and/or link to any products or services from this blog.  I am always honest in my opinions and never promise a positive review.  I only recommend products or services that I feel are beneficial to my family and my lovely readers.  I enjoy testing out items and giving my readers an honest and descriptive account of how a product functions.  My personal experience or view of an item may differ than yours.  

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